The Chase IHG Premier Card is one of the more underrated hotel cards in this business. While IHG is overshadowed by giants Hilton and Marriott, they still have many properties around the world. IHG is the parent company of Holiday Inn, Kimpton Hotels, and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, to name a few.
Is this card worth your while?
The IHG Premier has a public sign-up bonus of 80,000 IHG points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. But there is a targeted bonus of 100,000 points for the same minimum spend. Of course, go for the higher offer if you are targeted.
This card earns 10x IHG points per $1 spent on IHG hotel purchases. It also earns 2x points on gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1x on all other purchases. This structure makes it best for IHG purchases.
This card has an $89 annual fee (NOT waived the first year).
The easiest way to use IHG points is for free hotel nights. Points can be redeemed at the following IHG properties:
- avid Hotels
- Candlewood Suites
- Crowne Plaza
- EVEN Hotels
- Holiday Inn
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- Holiday Inn Express
- Holiday Inn Resorts
- Hotel Indigo
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
- Staybridge Suites
Points & Cash
If you want to stretch the value of your points, this is an alternative to straight hotel redemptions. Your mileage may vary here, but sometimes the cash and points combo is a better deal than only the points.
Other options for redemption include gift cards, digital downloads, or transferring to airline miles. None of these options compare favorably to the hotel redemptions or points & cash options.
The IHG Premier Card has some excellent benefits that will justify the annual fee. Free nights and Platinum Status are the highlights from this mid-tier card.
You receive one free night each year you renew your card. This free night is limited to rooms costing 40,000 points or less. Fortunately, rooms costing more than 40,000 points are at luxury hotels. This means that most rooms are eligible for using the free night.
And if you book a room for at least four nights, you get your fourth night free. The catch is that you must use points to pay. You won’t get the fourth night free benefit if you use cash or your IHG Card.
Free nights like these can help justify the annual fee, making this card a potential long-term keeper.
Platinum Status & 20% Points Discount
You also can earn IHG’s second-highest status just by holding the card. Platinum Status gives you a 20% discount when purchasing points with your IHG card.
Platinum Status also offers free room upgrades, priority check-in, and late check out.
Global Entry / Pre-TSA Credit
This benefit is normally given with more premium credit cards. But the IHG Premier is a rare mid-tier card that offers these credits. The credits give you a $100 Global Entry / $85 Pre-TSA membership fee credit. Membership to either service renews every 4 or 5 years.
I suggest going for the Global Entry membership because it includes Pre-TSA membership.
No Foreign Exchange Fees
While these fees are becoming less common every year, the Sapphire Preferred was one of the first cards to do without them. You will save 3% on all purchases made outside the United States with the card.
Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance
If you need to cancel your trip because of an unexpected event, this benefit gives you up to $10,000 per trip for non-refundable expenses. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, and tours are included.
Trip Delay Insurance
This benefit covers you up to $500 per ticket if your plane, train, or other common carrier is delayed at least 12 hours. It also kicks in if you require an overnight stay as a result of a delay. The $500 helps cover unreimbursed expenses such as meals and lodging.
Baggage Delay Insurance
This benefit gives you $100 per day up to 5 days if your luggage is lost or delayed. If your luggage is delayed for more than 6 hours, you can redeem for toiletries, clothing, and other essentials.
Rules & Regulations
Chase’s 5/24 rule states that you will not be approved for any Chase card if you were approved for five or more new accounts in the last 24-months.
My suggestion for this card is to wait until you receive an offer for at least 100,000 points for the same $2,000. The standard offer is 80,000 points.
What if the IHG Premier Card is not for you? Here are some alternatives to this card that might suit your needs:
Chase’s flagship mid-tier travel card lets you earn and transfer Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. IHG is one of Chase’s many travel partners. That means this card (and the whole Chase UR “ecosystem”) a good substitute for the IHG Card.
The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x UR points for Travel and Dining purchases. It also earns 1x points for everything else. This card also has a slightly higher annual fee at $95. But the Sapphire’s annual fee is waived the first year.
The IHG Premier Card also comes with the free nights and Platinum Status while the Sapphire Preferred doesn’t.
This mid-tier card from Hilton and American Express is a great alternative for Hilton lovers. This card has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) and comes with more perks than the IHG Premier.
The Amex Hilton Ascend earns 12x Hilton HH points on Hilton purchases. It also earns 6x points on Dining, Groceries, and Gas, and 3x points on everything else. This structure makes it a better overall earning card than the IHG Premier.
The Ascend Card also offers automatic Hilton Gold Status, which is more valuable than IHG Platinum Status. You receive an 80% points bonus for Hilton purchases including room rates and gift shop purchases.
After really looking into this card, I can see why any IHG loyalist would love it. The potential to earn multiple free nights is unlike many other hotel cards. Platinum Status will also get you room upgrades and priority check-in and checkout. These benefits alone are enough for many people to keep this card long term.